Cornerstone Research

www.cornerstone.com

Cornerstone Research Reviews

Updated December 8, 2014
Updated December 8, 2014
77 Reviews
3.9
77 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
5 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • good pay, not a lot of travel, better than average work-life balance (in 6 reviews)

  • Interesting, intellectually stimulating work involving high-profile litigation (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • The practice has worked very well in places like management consulting firms and law firms (in 7 reviews)

  • There is no work/life balance in any area of this company (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great Place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Washington, DC

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great for professional development in a challenging environment. Terrific culture, all levels are well respected. Competitive pay.

    Cons

    Consulting = the potential for long and unexpected hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to promote from within.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Overall it was good experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research

    Pros

    smart colleagues and resonable pay.

    Cons

    poor management, sometime long hours.

  3.  

    Administrative Services Assistant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Services Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Administrative Services Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    An excellent place to work. No micromanaging. Everyone from the VPs down to the analysts respect you and treat you well. Admin staff is included in all activities and parties. After having left Cornerstone to work in the environmental science field I still look back fondly at my time there.

    Cons

    The only con is that there is not a lot of time flexibility but you do start out with three weeks of vacation which is not common.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up respecting and valuing your admin staff.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Interesting work but long hours

    Current Employee - Associate
    Current Employee - Associate

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    There are a lot of interesting cases that you can work on and you can expect your team members to be competent and diligent. There is no direct competition among the peers.

    Cons

    Long hours: it is common for people to work over the weekend and 70 hours a week can last a long time. The client can surprise you at any point with a short deadline.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop a better strategy to keep people's work and life balance.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Interesting problems to solve. Smart co-workers. Collaborative and supportive culture.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Cornerstone offers:
    - The opportunity to work with very smart people to see how they have learned to solve problems
    - Top of the industry compensation
    - Strong brand among business schools admissions committees
    - Highly transferrable data management and analysis skills and overall impeccable attention to detail
    - Plenty of opportunity to develop other soft skills
    - A supportive and collaborative culture

    Cons

    Downsides include:
    - Case demands can be unpredictable, making it difficult at times to make non-work related commitments
    - Case managers can be a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes the smartest people are not always the best leaders
    - The longer you remain with Cornerstone, the more specialized (and less transferrable) your skills become, limiting your exit opportunities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Place less emphasis on hiring the very smartest and most expert managers and ensure (either through training or the hiring process) that managers have good management skills.

    Create a better-defined path for outperforming analysts to become associates to retain verified talent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    There is a lot of opportunity to learn and grow. Lots of interesting projects.

    Cons

    There is no work/life balance in any area of this company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great People

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Summer Associate
    Current Employee - Summer Associate

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Extremely Intelligent and Analytical People
    Relaxed environment
    High calibre analysts

    Cons

    Hard to sometimes make plans due to last minute deadlines raised by clients

  9. 14 people found this helpful  

    Not good for the long term

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate
    Former Employee - Associate

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    For analysts:
      - Opportunities to pick up economic and statistical skills
      - Can be good preparation for economics PhD programs or law schools
      - Exposure to different industries
      - Plenty of opportunities to do recruiting, training, and maybe some admin stuff, which can be resume builders
      - A large group of your fellow analysts that are usually pleasant to work with and they can be a valuable professional network for your future

    For associates:
       - Decent base salary and benefit packages
       - Good green card policy for non-US employees

    Cons

    First of all, I must mention that I enjoyed working with most of the analysts/associates and some of the senior people in the company, and learned many things. However, my overall experience was negative and I do not think this is a good place for long-term career development for most people. I dedicate this review to the analysts and associates candidates who are considering this company. I wish someone had written something like this when I was considering the job offer, and I wish I hadn't taken it.

      Cons for analysts (people have talked about the long hours, so I skip that) :

      - The placement records in business schools are very mediocre in recent years, I have hardly ever heard of anyone getting offers from top 5 in the past few years.

      - The casework can be very outdated due to the time lag between real world events and litigations. For example, even after 7 years since the subprime crisis, the company still has tons of subprime RMBS cases. Many analysts have to spend more than 50% of their time on these cases (BTW, case assignment is usually a matter of office politics). Good luck building your resume with those type of case experience!

      - Lack of standard and efficient procedures to do a lot of the work (e.g., no good procedures of collaboration in programming, version control or quality control), and most of the associates and above (mostly economics PhDs) do not have reasonable management skills. These will mean 1) poorly managed workload for you and 2) you don't have the opportunity to learn the best practices or management skills, compared to your classmates who go to management consulting or big corporations.

      - Lack of opportunities to build up hard skills that are valued in today's job market. For example, the software packages most commonly used daily, i.e. Excel (no VBA) and SAS, are not the most state-of-the-art ones nowadays in business intelligence or data analytics. The IT architecture is very old-fashioned, partly due to the conservative nature of the business, and partly due to the fact that most of the senior people have no clue.

      Overall, given it's pros and cons, if one doesn't have better opportunities elsewhere, this job may still makes sense for young people right out of colleges. Just be aware of what you are getting into, and work on your exit opportunities so you have enough move on in two years.

      Cons for associates (it's a completely different story):

      - Lack of exit strategies at every non-officer level

      - Bulky middle-management due to the above point

      - The usual way to get plum assignments is by the sponsorship from someone in the officer or rising officer rank. The assigned "advisor" has no formal incentive to help you at all. You are on your own.

      - Lack of opportunities to build marketable skills (e.g. hard core data analytics) or portable credentials (e.g. publications)

       - The company is essentially a middleman between law firm clients and testifying experts, not clear to me if the business model will keep working in the long-run, as the market is becoming more competitive.

      When selling their jobs, Cornerstone will make their "culture" the biggest selling point. As a general rule, when an employer does that, run fast. It sells "culture" because it doesn't have much else.

       The career path for the new associates is up-or-out. The practice has worked very well in places like management consulting firms and law firms. But the key is that people develop exit opportunities along their paths so they don't have to block the junior colleagues' progress. It's not the case in Cornerstone.

      I wouldn't recommend treating this job as more than a two to three year stint, after I have seen so many managers and above who are stuck at their jobs, with no prospect of making the partner (because that's about bringing in business, not everyone want to or can do that), and also few opportunities elsewhere. Of course some good ones find decent opportunities and left, this adverse selection process make the remaining pool even worse. That means lack of role models for associates, and worse, some middle level people who try very hard to keep their jobs at the cost of the junior people's development. To be fair, these people joined the firm when the firm didn't explicitly use up-or-out, and now they are in a very awkward situation. Although I wasn't treated very well by some of these people, I feel sympathetic to them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Stop lying to people at recruiting:
    - to the analysts, be honest about the hours
    - to the associates, be honest about the business development requirement down the road, the up-or-out track, and how cases are assigned.

    2. Help people to build their exit strategies and reduce the bulky middle management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    decent lifestyle for a consulting job

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research

    Pros

    good pay, not a lot of travel, better than average work-life balance

    Cons

    volatile hours, clients may have unrealistic expectations

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Cornerstone Research is a great place for growth and career development for administrative professionals.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Various in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Various in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Cornerstone has great core values that are celebrated at the firm in a way that creates a solidarity between everyone, whether or not they work on the same coast or in the same office. Because of this, they often like to look internally to fill positions or promote from within when they can. Once you get your foot in the door, it really is an amazing place for administrative professionals to advance or explore new career paths.

    Cons

    It may be difficult to make changes to certain practices and procedures for some, but it is definitely possible and in some cases may involve various reviews through committees and other office heads. Polices are not made lightly and deserve the attention to detail they are given at Cornerstone, but have always given great thought and consideration to all employees, regardless of level.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please continue to maintain that level of comradery and sense of family that was the driving force behind my own growth and development at Cornerstone.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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